Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, Year B, Junior High

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Junior High Session
Exodus 24:3-8
Mark 14:12-16, 22-26

Opening Prayer

Let us pray.
God of life,
On this feast of the Body and Blood of Christ,
help us remember that Jesus willingly gave his life for us.
Teach us to willingly give of ourselves in the service of others.
In the name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.

Opening Life Reflection
The main topic for today is the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. To begin, gather the young people in a semicircle and show them pictures of people who have given their lives for a greater good or in service of others. Some possible examples are the astronauts from the space shuttles Challenger and Columbia, or journalists, soldiers and human rights workers who have died in war, or particular Saints and Martyrs who have sacrificed their lives for their faith.

• Why do some people risk their lives in the service of others?
• What does it mean to make a sacrifice?
• What sacrifices can young people make today in the service of others?

Allow time for discussion. On today's feast of the Body and Blood of Christ we remember Jesus' death. We are reminded of the Passover meal where Jesus identified the bread with his body and the cup of wine with his blood, which would be poured out for the life of the world.

Listening to the Word of God
In the first reading from the Old Testament, listen to how Moses uses blood to symbolize the sealing of the covenant between God and the people.

Read Exodus 24:3-8.
Allow for silence.

Scripture Discussion Starters

• How does Moses tell the people about the words of the Lord?
• What ritual does Moses share with the people of Israel?
• Why does Moses use blood to remind the people of their covenant relationship with God?

In the gospel today listen to how Jesus prepares to share the Passover meal with his friends.

Read Mark 14:12-16, 22-26.
Allow for silence.

• Where does Jesus tell his disciples to go?
• What do they find in the city?
• How do the disciples prepare for the Passover meal?

Scripture Background

Provide 2-3 minutes of background information on the readings using the Catechist Background section.

The first reading from the Old Testament describes a ritual that seals the Covenant God made with Moses and the people of Israel. The importance of blood in celebrating this covenant ritual shows that the covenant is more than mere words. The sprinkling of blood on the people powerfully symbolizes that the covenant with God is a matter of life, for blood was a symbol of life.

In today's gospel Jesus helps his disciple prepare to celebrate the Passover meal. Jesus sends his friends off and foretells the details of setting up the Passover meal. This foreknowledge shows Jesus' willingness to suffer the events to come and give his life for the salvation of the world. The traditional Passover meal Jesus shares with his disciples takes on new significance when Jesus offers his blood as a sign of God's saving love. The crucifixion is the willing outpouring of Christ's lifeblood for others. Christ's self-giving death becomes the new covenant between God and humanity.

Questions for Deeper Reflection
• Why is blood a powerful symbol of the covenant relationship between the people and God?
• How does Jesus offer his blood as a sign of God's saving love?
• What does the crucifixion represent?

[If you are not going to continue with the doctrinal discussion, proceed to the Gospel in Life.]

Doctrinal Discussion Starter
The Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist
On today's feast of the Body and Blood of Christ we reflect on the Eucharistic meal and we remember the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ. We proclaim our belief that "when we eat this bread and drink this cup we proclaim your death, Lord Jesus, until you come in glory" (Roman Missal, Memorial Acclamation, Eucharistic Prayer). As followers of Jesus, we carry out this command to "do this in remembrance of me" (1 Corinthians 1:24-25). In the Eucharist, we offer again the sacrifice of Jesus to the Father through the gifts of bread and wine through the power of the Holy Spirit and the words of Christ.

When we gather in faith, God makes present Jesus, his body and blood in the bread and wine offered in the Eucharist. A substantial change takes place within the elements of bread and wine. The term the Church uses to name this change is transubstantiation. In the Eucharist, Christ is really and truly made present. The Eucharistic celebration is a memorial of Jesus' death and resurrection. It is a sacrament of love. The Eucharist is the center of our Christian faith and life.

• What helps us to remember Jesus' sacrifice?
• Why is the Eucharist a sacrament of love?
• What term does the Church use to name the change that takes place within the elements of bread and wine in the celebration of Eucharist?

Sacrament Connection
The Sacrament of Eucharist completes our initiation into the Body of Christ, the Church.

The Gospel in Life
How can you grow in your appreciation of the Eucharist this week?

Posted in: Sessions B